“Me Too” …a Concern

Excuse me! What ever happened to “Innocent until proven guilty”?

I have no problem with the “Me Too” campaign that’s racing across our nation. Women who have been abused, misused, led on, put down or in any way discriminated against deserve to be heard. Men who have used their power, money or charm to take advantage of those women deserve to be made accountable. Three cheers for those who are stepping up to raise awareness. It seems to me, though, two associated issues should at least be considered.

First, I think there is a difference between the young spirited male who was, so to speak, sowing his oats and the older mature male who continues to act like a young stud long after he should be leading with his brain. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending the twenty something who went too far after his female counterpart said, “STOP”. Wrong is wrong, and ignoring an objection from one’s female companion is just WRONG. But, the accuser should carefully weigh the consequences of an allegation of some minor misconduct from years ago if that man has become an example of good conduct with a family and a responsible position. You may have every right to be angry, but do you really want to ruin a good person’s life? People can change. On the other hand, in the case of that mature male . . . the boss / executive / leader / mature co-worker . . . who continues to act like a stud, I say, “Hang him out to dry”.

Second, (and this is my greatest fear) the “Me Too” campaign is ripe for unwarranted accusations of misconduct by women who are angry about some work related issue that has nothing to do with harassment. This campaign could be an easy way to lash out. A few rants and raves on social media, then click ENTER and you can drag that man down a path to disaster, destroying his career. Spilling out one’s emotions with sometimes slanderous accusations on Facebook or Twitter could be a knee jerk reaction. No doubt, it will escalate. Others with their own issues or just in support of their Facebook “friend” will LIKE, COMMENT or even SHARE. The media might pick up this juicy tidbit and make it public. Meanwhile the subject of this woman’s wrath is tried and convicted in the court of social networking. He has no opportunity to defend himself. Let’s face it. How many times have you seen a man accused of harassment express public denial and been inclined to believe him?

Work related disagreements happen. Often they are heated fights riddled with emotion. But, those battles should not be the fodder for unwarranted revenge. There are other appropriate venues for resolving work related conflict.

Our Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides for the right to a public trial. In a court of law, the defendant has the opportunity to defend himself. In the court of today’s social media, it seems one is guilty until proven innocent.

 

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